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Thread: My Daughters' Heritage: Their Great-Grandmother's 1917? Western Electric Sew-EZ Sewing Machine

  1. #1
    Super Member BuzzinBumble's Avatar
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    My husband's dear aunt had this little beauty tucked away and recently asked if anyone in the family was interested. My hubby and his sisters all said "No thank you." :shock:
    I told DH to correct that impression before his aunt gave it away to the local historical society. Our two girls were very interested indeed! They both value ties to the past and our eldest, Bean, did not have a sewing machine. Turned out Bean was VERY excited about this.

    So yesterday my two sweet SILs brought the Sew-EZ to our house. Even though the machine is in great condition, I hardly know what to do next. My one SIL was a home-ec teacher and she tested the machine and it works! She sewed two inches before stopping since the machine surely needs cleaning and oiling. The electrical cord is amazing for one that is close to 100 years old, but I cannot think it is safe.

    Our Bean and her boyfriend are coming home for a visit this weekend. I don't know if I can get the machine shaped up in time, but it sure would be good for her to be able to take it home while they have a rental car. (Normally she flies, but her arms were too tired. :roll: )

    There is hardly any information about this machine out on the internet. So I am sending out an SOS to all you vintage machine enthusiasts and am hoping you can point me in the right direction. Ours has no manual, or accessories, except 2 bobbins. And I am very leery about the power cord, but don't know how to replace it. We don't know for sure even what model this is, but it has two spool posts and only does a straight stitch. Meanwhile, I have been pouring over Billy's tutorial about how to take apart and clean your vintage machine. Not sure I have have the guts to do the "Taking apart" part of that!

    Here is what little I found on the internet:
    The Western Electric sewing machine was not made by Western Electric, but by the National Sewing Machine Company, Belvedere, Ill., which put Western Electric decals on one of their models.
    The electric motor, however, was produced by Western Electric. Production lasted only a few years; the machine disappeared from the market by 1918.
    I also found a number of amusing vintage advertisements about this machine.
    Ours does not have a vibrating shuttle, but a bobbin case and bobbins. It came in a beautiful, curved quarter sawn oak case.
    Here are a lot of pictures. Thanks for looking!
    Attached Images Attached Images









  2. #2
    Power Poster blueangel's Avatar
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    It's gorgeous

  3. #3
    Super Member grammiepamie's Avatar
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    This is a beautiful machine. I sew want a vintage machine.Such a keepsake for your family.

  4. #4
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    That is a great machine and in such great condition. she is one lucky girl.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Melrose R's Avatar
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    It looks to be in mint condition! Bravo for speaking up!

  6. #6
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    That's a beautiful machine. I'm surprised it's made by National. I thought all of theirs had the round access panel in the front. Can you have the electics checked at a machine shop? Old electric motors are much simpler than modern ones with less to go wrong, but I'd want it looked at because some parts do dry out.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    Much better for such a beautiful machine to stay in the family. Well done!

  8. #8
    Super Member GGinMcKinney's Avatar
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    Beautiful machine! How fortunate to keep it loved in the family. Is there a photo of great grandma sewing on it? Would be wonderful to at least have a photo of her to pass along with her machine.

  9. #9
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    A beautiful family treasure. I'm sure the aunt is pleased it will stay in the family. Lucky daughter.
    Judy

  10. #10
    Super Member Quilter7x's Avatar
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    Wow, I can't believe the wonderful condition of this machine given its age. What a wonderful thing to keep in the family! :thumbup:

  11. #11
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    What a beautiful machine.

  12. #12
    Super Member Vanuatu Jill's Avatar
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    Wow-what a lucky girl your daughter is!! Such a great heirloom! It looks like it is right off the showroom floor! How lucky you were able to snatch it up before it was given away!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuzzinBumble
    My husband's dear aunt had this little beauty tucked away and recently asked if anyone in the family was interested. My hubby and his sisters all said "No thank you." :shock:
    I told DH to correct that impression before his aunt gave it away to the local historical society. Our two girls were very interested indeed! They both value ties to the past and our eldest, Bean, did not have a sewing machine. Turned out Bean was VERY excited about this.

    So yesterday my two sweet SILs brought the Sew-EZ to our house. Even though the machine is in great condition, I hardly know what to do next. My one SIL was a home-ec teacher and she tested the machine and it works! She sewed two inches before stopping since the machine surely needs cleaning and oiling. The electrical cord is amazing for one that is close to 100 years old, but I cannot think it is safe.

    Our Bean and her boyfriend are coming home for a visit this weekend. I don't know if I can get the machine shaped up in time, but it sure would be good for her to be able to take it home while they have a rental car. (Normally she flies, but her arms were too tired. :roll: )

    There is hardly any information about this machine out on the internet. So I am sending out an SOS to all you vintage machine enthusiasts and am hoping you can point me in the right direction. Ours has no manual, or accessories, except 2 bobbins. And I am very leery about the power cord, but don't know how to replace it. We don't know for sure even what model this is, but it has two spool posts and only does a straight stitch. Meanwhile, I have been pouring over Billy's tutorial about how to take apart and clean your vintage machine. Not sure I have have the guts to do the "Taking apart" part of that!

    Here is what little I found on the internet:
    The Western Electric sewing machine was not made by Western Electric, but by the National Sewing Machine Company, Belvedere, Ill., which put Western Electric decals on one of their models.
    The electric motor, however, was produced by Western Electric. Production lasted only a few years; the machine disappeared from the market by 1918.
    I also found a number of amusing vintage advertisements about this machine.
    Ours does not have a vibrating shuttle, but a bobbin case and bobbins. It came in a beautiful, curved quarter sawn oak case.
    Here are a lot of pictures. Thanks for looking!
    Thank you for blessing us with the photos.....this is an amazingly beautiful machine and the case is priceless! I agree; a photo of GGM actually using the machine would be a treasure. :thumbup:

  14. #14
    Super Member wuv2quilt's Avatar
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    One word...WOOOOOOOW!!!!!!

  15. #15
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Hi Lara - I have one of these gorgeous machines, too, and I also am leery of the electricals. We haven't tried replacing the wiring yet, but will be doing that this Fall.

    You are right about the National Sewing Machine Company manufacturing this machine for Western Electric. Actually they only did it for 2 years, and then Western Elect decided not to sell them. You can find information on needles, bobbins and maybe a manual at the ISMACS website.

  16. #16
    Senior Member QuiltMania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuzzinBumble
    My husband's dear aunt had this little beauty tucked away and recently asked if anyone in the family was interested. My hubby and his sisters all said "No thank you." :shock:
    I told DH to correct that impression before his aunt gave it away to the local historical society. Our two girls were very interested indeed! They both value ties to the past and our eldest, Bean, did not have a sewing machine. Turned out Bean was VERY excited about this.

    So yesterday my two sweet SILs brought the Sew-EZ to our house. Even though the machine is in great condition, I hardly know what to do next. My one SIL was a home-ec teacher and she tested the machine and it works! She sewed two inches before stopping since the machine surely needs cleaning and oiling. The electrical cord is amazing for one that is close to 100 years old, but I cannot think it is safe.

    Our Bean and her boyfriend are coming home for a visit this weekend. I don't know if I can get the machine shaped up in time, but it sure would be good for her to be able to take it home while they have a rental car. (Normally she flies, but her arms were too tired. :roll: )

    There is hardly any information about this machine out on the internet. So I am sending out an SOS to all you vintage machine enthusiasts and am hoping you can point me in the right direction. Ours has no manual, or accessories, except 2 bobbins. And I am very leery about the power cord, but don't know how to replace it. We don't know for sure even what model this is, but it has two spool posts and only does a straight stitch. Meanwhile, I have been pouring over Billy's tutorial about how to take apart and clean your vintage machine. Not sure I have have the guts to do the "Taking apart" part of that!

    Here is what little I found on the internet:
    The Western Electric sewing machine was not made by Western Electric, but by the National Sewing Machine Company, Belvedere, Ill., which put Western Electric decals on one of their models.
    The electric motor, however, was produced by Western Electric. Production lasted only a few years; the machine disappeared from the market by 1918.
    I also found a number of amusing vintage advertisements about this machine.
    Ours does not have a vibrating shuttle, but a bobbin case and bobbins. It came in a beautiful, curved quarter sawn oak case.
    Here are a lot of pictures. Thanks for looking!
    Send a PM to Billy (Lostn51). He is the resident expert on old machines.

  17. #17
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    OMGosh..It's in near perfect conditon. I can't believe how nicely the decals have lasted. So glad someone who will appreciate this will have it!

  18. #18
    Super Member quilt addict's Avatar
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    WOWZERs, that machine is beautiful! Great save. It doesn't even look like it would need much cleaning but may need to check to see if there is dried oil on the parts just behind the faceplate.

    Maybe that you are lucky and just needs a good oiling and working it in to all the nooks and crannies.

    Any local electrical shop should be able to check the wires. It doesn't look like the machine was used much so the wires may have not gotten warm from use and therefore are not brittle. But if your daughter is going to use it I would change them. It is not that hard you can do it!

  19. #19
    Super Member BuzzinBumble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGinMcKinney
    Beautiful machine! How fortunate to keep it loved in the family. Is there a photo of great grandma sewing on it? Would be wonderful to at least have a photo of her to pass along with her machine.
    My daughter would have loved it if there were Teresa... but I've only ever seen formal poses of their great grandmother. I have one of her beautiful wedding portraits, but it is huge. Maybe my SIL's might know of something less formal. My daughter does keep a beautiful photo of my mother-in-law in her kitchen. That way she feels like the queen of spaghetti sauce and meatballs is looking after her.

  20. #20
    Super Member BuzzinBumble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jljack
    Hi Lara - I have one of these gorgeous machines, too, and I also am leery of the electricals. We haven't tried replacing the wiring yet, but will be doing that this Fall.

    You are right about the National Sewing Machine Company manufacturing this machine for Western Electric. Actually they only did it for 2 years, and then Western Elect decided not to sell them. You can find information on needles, bobbins and maybe a manual at the ISMACS website.
    Janice, that is so neat that you have one too! Thank you for the added information. My SIL found a couple on eBay and there was one on Etsy too. But other than that they seem hard to come by. We were not sure how long they were in production and since it was only 2 years, it is no wonder. I must be a poor internet searcher, because I had no luck on the ISMACS website.

  21. #21
    Super Member Celeste's Avatar
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    It's a beauty!

  22. #22
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    That machine is a beauty. She was taken care of and is in beautiful shape. I would also have the cords checked just because of the age. I have my Mom's machine--no where near like yours, but the cord cracked all alone the length. It was stored in her basement for maybe 10 years after it's last use, so those things just wear out. I used it all the time to make button-holes, didn't like the way my machine did them, and it was a good excuse to go over to visit.
    Sue

  23. #23
    Super Member BuzzinBumble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by susie-susie-susie
    That machine is a beauty. She was taken care of and is in beautiful shape. I would also have the cords checked just because of the age. I have my Mom's machine--no where near like yours, but the cord cracked all alone the length. It was stored in her basement for maybe 10 years after it's last use, so those things just wear out. I used it all the time to make button-holes, didn't like the way my machine did them, and it was a good excuse to go over to visit.
    Sue
    Yes that definitely the case... My husband's grandmother was known for how well she kept house. And the same is true of his aunt. She is pretty amazing with how efficient and neat she is. So, even though the little old sewing machine saw a good deal of use, they both really took good care of her.
    Sue, your "button hole" visit excuse is very sweet. Makes me miss my own Mom quite a bit.

    And Crafty Pat, Vanuatu Jill, and Judy: my daughter truly does know how lucky she is. It is wonderful that she could have this sewing machine.

    We decided to do the re-conditioning or anything it needs here in our area, because it is too heavy for my daughter to cart all over the NYC area using public transportation. Can you picture her lugging it along on the subway? :XD:
    Janice, Sue and Lisa - We definitely are going to get the electrical aspects taken care of. Don't want to take any risks, since this machine will actually be used once again.

  24. #24
    Super Member amyjo's Avatar
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    what a wonderful piece of history. such a beautiful machine and being kept in the family.

  25. #25
    Super Member LeslieFrost's Avatar
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    I have found that a good LQS will know who in the area works on sewing machines. We have an excellent fellow in NW Wisconsin. He replaced my cracked, dangerous electrical cord on my old Singer, when I first got it to him for a general tune-up, since it had been unused for a couple of decades. I would find a great guy like that, and let him bring this beauty up to snuff.

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